COMMENT: When member for Calare John Cobb missed out on a seat on the front bench in September, he said the lack of travel would allow him to focus on Calare.
After 20 years without a local federal member in government, this should have been our time to shine. But four months since the election, Calare is facing one of its biggest jobs crises in living memory and Mr Cobb is nowhere to be seen.
That the capital cities of Adelaide and Melbourne need and deserve $60 million from the federal government to recover from Holden’s closure, but the winding-up of Electrolux should be left to the company, according to Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, is mind-blowing.
What his four-sentence statement and repeated suggestion for redundant workers to line-up at government job agencies fails to explain is the precise difference between the central west’s plight and that of Adelaide and Melbourne.
If he feels there is legitimate difference and alternative then let us know.
But if his reluctance to even contemplate assistance for Electrolux workers is because of the company’s supposed snub of the then-newly elected government’s request for more time to consider a bailout in October then that’s another thing.
Both the federal and state governments appear to have vague ideas of expanding existing businesses and encouraging new industries to find jobs, which is probably veering in the right direction.
But there is no discussion of how this would be paid for.
The $60 million for Holden workers is not a direct handout, it’s to be used for grants to encourage companies to hire the redundant workers.
So why can’t the system be adapted for the central west?
Mr Cobb maintains Lithgow and Bathurst have a more urgent job crisis than Orange, yet nothing is going their way either and the Holden package comes despite the plant not closing until 2017 - a year after Electrolux closes its doors.